On 9 October 2008, the JSB celebrated the 10-year anniversary of
its activity by organising the Conference "What will the future
bring? Rising to the challenge of maintaining effective data
protection supervision at Europol".
The aim of the conference was not to just celebrate the
achievements of the JSB in its first 10 years; more importantly,
attention focused on future challenges and the way the JSB should
respond to these.
The conference provided an excellent platform to exchange views,
ideas and perceptions on future challenges for effective data
protection supervision at Europol. It created a rare opportunity to
reflect on how to make data protection meaningful and effective,
and thereby ensure protection for individuals in light of the many
challenges posed by the wide range of European Union activity
taking place in the area of security and law enforcement.
Various speakers in the conference reflected on the future
change of the legal framework of Europol and its law enforcement
environment in the European Union. They also discussed the Union's
plans and activities in the area of justice, freedom and security
and more specifically the introduction of the principle of
availability, the principle of convergence and the increasing
pressure to share data.
The discussions touched not only upon the data protection
supervision of Europol, but were extended to these developments in
the European Union and on how to provide real protection for the
individual. The common perception of the participants was that one
of the practical solutions to all current information exchange
tendencies is to enhance effective and efficient joint supervision
by the national data protection authorities and joint supervisory
A strong commitment to strike the right balance between
strengthening the fight against crime and maintaining a high level
of data protection supervision system was frequently mentioned
during the conference.
The conference made it clear that the main challenge for data
protection authorities and law enforcement agencies is to settle
the right balance through dialogue.
Another important issue acknowledged by all participants of the
conference was the need for raising awareness to individuals about
their rights and freedoms, and the enhancement of the transparency
towards individuals concerning all new policies and initiatives in
the European Union.
As the conference objective was more perspective than
retrospective, the consequences of the Lisbon Treaty and the
Council Decision replacing the Europol Convention and the possible
impact they may have on future activities of the JSB were
presented. All agreed that future changes will only provide even
stronger motivation to continue the task of the JSB.
The main conclusion drawn by the conference was that the JSB
continues to ensure effective data protection supervision at
Europol including constructive cooperation with Europol assisting
to implement legal data protection provision in the day-to-day work
All participants agreed that faced with innovative approaches to
information exchange in the European Union, joint supervisory
authorities, such as the JSB, together with national data
protection authorities, must maintain the present data protection
supervisory system and increase their activities to ensure real
protection for individuals now and in the future.